Phoebe Nir is a NYC-based songstress/playwright who blends a pop, jazz, and rock in a 60s-like fashion. Side Hustle is her debut EP, which was released back in November 4th via True Groove Records. She has performed in many popular venues in New York including Joe’s Pub and 54 Below. Phoebe has also received the Presidential Scholar of the Arts from President Obama at the White House and is currently developing a Broadway theater trilogy alongside producer Tomas Doncker.
Phoebe Nir’s sound takes us back in time when pop beats would wound up in jazz clubs or rock shows with the most seamless transition. “Lust for Life,” the opener of her record, is packed with playfulness and skyrocketing enthusiasm that takes off in a flash. Although it is a cover of Iggy Pop’s song, Nir breathes in a new, vibrant life with the her zesty vocals and gushing percussions that gives almost a theatrical polish to it. There is an undeniable thespian touch in her EP, which isn’t surprising given the fact that she’s a playwright as well.
“Joe! Joe! Joe! Joe! Joe! / I keep on shouting like a maniac since you walked out that door” chants Nir in her second track “Joe!” With trumpet horns and multi-vocal choruses backing her up, Nir sounds like she’s delivering a meltdown monologue after her lover has left. But the cheery despair in the melody tells another story – despite the lyrical cry for Joe, as listeners, we can’t help but feel the positive giddiness in her rhythm. She sheds a comical light into the guilty pleasure of indulging into the drama and you can’t help but laugh about it.
The more you spin Nir’s songs, the more her humor infuses into your brain. She mocks and embraces the theatrical art the same way she sculpts her songs with seemingly mismatching elements that somehow find a kooky harmony. “Show me what you learned, what you learned / What you learned, what you learned in film school.” Her third track, “Film School,” pokes fun of the Hollywood grandeur that blinds many from actually creating genuine art. The follow up, “Side Hustle,” oozes a flirty self-confidence where Nir is luring her person of interest but with the du jour no-strings-attached attitude that poptresses like Tove Lo celebrate. It is an anachronistic song where you can feel the present day cool girl air in a 60s-infused pop/jazz soundsphere.
Where Nir loses us is “Broken Parts” – a midtempo track that lacks in the eccentric flavor and humor she displays in her other songs. There is no thrilling jazz momentums or mounting beats, but a rather flat one where we easily snooze. Despite this hiccup, Nir quickly redeems herself in the last track “Oh Ana” – a surprisingly, laid-back track that soars to a more emotional direction, letting us exeunt her EP with a sweet aftertaste.
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